Three strikes and you’re out! It was a rough lesson for Millersville tenants. After receiving three disruptive conduct report (DCR) noise warnings, the tenants of 32 N. Prince Street discovered they were being evicted.
The renters, Brian Knell, David Renee, and Nate Hinkle had received DCR warnings in April 2012 (along with a formal noise complaint) and May 2012. The final DCR came on January 25th, 2013. Two weeks later the men received a letter stating they were being evicted.
Knell, Hinkle, and Renee had previously spoken with the safety committee, a subcommittee of the borough council, in a meeting that lasted about an hour and a half, to fight to remove the third DCR complaint from the record.
According to the 3 renters, they worked with the safety committee to come up with ways for the 3 young men to show their apologizes and regret, including writing a letter of apology to their neighbors and submitting a statement to the Snapper (which was never given to the Snapper in light of their eviction).
“We left the first meeting with ideas we came up with and ideas they came up with. And we did our side and they didn’t care,” said Hinkle. All three expressed frustration at the ambiguity of the ordinances, calling them “unclear.” Knell added that neither he and his roommates, nor the borough council know if there needs to be witnesses or an escort of some kind when the boys move out on March 6th.
After speaking with the safety committee, the tenants wrote a letter of apology to their neighbors and made copies for each borough council member to read during the second meeting on February 26th.
All three tenants attended the meeting under the assumption that they were continuing to fight for the removal of the third DCR. The removal of the third DCR was not discussed. Instead, one council member made a motion, which passed, to exempt Renee from eviction, given that his name was only on the lease during one party resulting in a DCR.
Safety Committee members present at the borough council meeting made it clear that the eviction stood at the end of their first meeting with the renters and that the removal of the DCR was not an option. According to council members, the ordinance says that 3 DCRs in a 12-month period, not just a calendar year, will result in automatic eviction.
During the meeting, Hinkle was allowed to read the letter of apology the young men had written, addressed to their neighbors. Still, they feel as if their side of the story went unexplained.
“They clearly don’t understand the student side. How are we supposed to socialize?,” said Knell, “It’s a college town and they should represent the students, not just the residents.”
A phone call to Millersville Borough Police Chief John Rochat was not returned at the time of print. However Rochat was present at the borough council meeting and praised the council for upholding the eviction, saying that this has only been an issue 2 or 3 times in the past.
Council president Mike Kirkham explained that the only other option for the renters was through the legal system, something Knell says they did consider.
Knell’s parents also attended the borough council meeting, driving in from New Jersey, and tried to explain to the council the financial burden of having to find new housing for the rest of the semester, as well as pay out the rent on 32 N. Prince. When Knell’s parents asked about options for alternate housing, council member Linda Deal said, “that’s not our responsibility,” adding that the men had been given plenty of warnings previously.
Hinkle and Knell had 8 days to pack and move out. They are planning on staying with a mutual friend. Knell describes the experience as a “power versus no power” struggle.